Why, hullo there.


For no reason whatsoever, the Husband and I decided to have a photoshoot across this bright green brick wall this afternoon.  Trying to chase away the Moan-days, I guess!

IMG_2475 IMG_2477

Heh.  Blue steel, baby.


Today’s lunch is a good transition into an interesting reader question.


I had a veggie burger on rosemary bread (store-bought, not homemade) with ketchup and spinach.


Plus, fruit on the side.


Lunch was lovely, but I had to make it in a rush and definitely didn’t give myself enough food.  I shall be back in the kitchen soon!


So – here’s the question!


Abigail e-mailed me to say: As I am trying to maintain and balance my happy weight, I am researching vegetarian lifestyles to find an easier way to remind myself to eat well for my body.  Could you do another post on vegetarianism? Specifically, on how not to be hungry


I’m trying to eliminate meats on certain days of the week, but when I do, I have trouble feeling full. I get hungry really quickly when I’m only eating grains, fruits, veggies, and dairy, especially when I’m on the go at college, even though I know this should be enough. For example, if I have oatmeal and an apple for breakfast and whole wheat pasta/vegetables for lunch, by four in the afternoon, I’m starving. I feel like I have to eat meat once a day to get enough protein, or I feel hungry. Should I just eat healthy snacks more often between meals? What am I doing wrong?


As you all know, I am not a registered dietitian, and everyone’s eating styles and needs are different, so I can only speak from my own knowledge and experiences about being a vegetarian.   But Abigail’s problem is actually a pretty common one.  I can’t tell you how many people have said to me, “I could never be a vegetarian. I would STARVE TO DEATH.”  


I’m not a huge fan of processed faux meat products, but I do think they have their time and place, and once of these places is when you’re first going vegetarian.  When you first go veg, it’s hard to figure out what to ‘replace’ your meat with.  As a result, I think a lot of people either just leave out the meat component entirely and don’t replace it with anything or they replace it with more carbs or cheese.

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Faux meat products (like fake sausage, fake grilled chicken, fake burgers, fake meat crumbles) are usually made of soy (think tofu but flavored and processed a little more) and are high in protein, like the regular deal.  Some faux meat products, like Field Roast sausages, are not made of soy but of wheat gluten (here are other non-soy alternatives to meat).  They actually taste pretty good, too, as long as you aren’t expecting to taste exactly like meat (they don’t!). 


Before going veg, I’d bet Abigail’s pasta and veggie dish for lunch would also have included chicken.  Now, she’s eliminated the chicken and hasn’t replaced it with anything else – no wonder she’s hungry!  Faux meat products can easily fill the ‘void’ left behind by vegetarianism.  Over time, I highly recommend people wean themselves off faux meat so they’re only eating it once or twice a week, just because 1) it’s highly processed; 2) it’s high in sodium; 3) it’s expensive; and 4) soy is questionable.


I think the “I must have lots of protein” thing is overrated (most Americans eat their fare share of protein); however, protein deficiency can be a serious problem.  It’s important to slowly replace faux meats with vegetarian protein sources.  (Side note: I also take a Vitamin B supplement – you would not BELIEVE the energy Max Stress B gives me – and get monthly B-12 injections.)  I think it’s equally important to focus on eating whole grain carbohydrates and fiber-rich foods like veggies and fruits. 


I also find that I am hungrier if I don’t eat fat with each meal, like the kind in hummus, nuts, olive oil, or cheese.  And I always, always have a mid-afternoon snack (usually something that combines protein, carbs, and fruit, like Greek yogurt, oats, and a banana).  And, of course, a lot of feeling hungry simply comes down to calorie intake.  Sometimes it’s helpful to calorie count for a few days just to see where you’re at, intake-wise.  Calories are one of the primary reasons that I always eat a mid-afternoon snack; I just can’t fill up on three vegetarian meals a day – I need a hefty snack, too.


If you want more info about going veg, I highly recommend No Meat Athlete’s site because it’s very well-researched and informative.


Here are my other vegetarian posts:



What are the key ingredients for keeping your belly full and happy?  Do you rely on faux meats or not?  Which are your favorites?



  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife April 11, 2011, 2:35 pm

    I love cottage cheese, beans, and lots and lots of veggies to keep me full. I do eat fish and chicken/turkey, but not very often. I also make sure to have a healthy fat–this keeps me nice and satisfied with the high veggie/fruit content of a meal. It is important to have a protein source, b/c it fills you up most and is digested longer, but we prob don’t need as much as we think 😉 LOVE your sandwich idea–I think I am going to have a veggie burger for lunch too!!

    And ps. you look GORGEOUS in that first photo!!

    • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday April 11, 2011, 3:00 pm

      Good call on the cottage cheese. I second that.

      • Baking 'n' Books April 11, 2011, 3:44 pm

        Cheese! 🙂

        I’m not a vegetarian, but yogurt, cheese, nuts, hummus and definitely oils. I always saute in olive oil – and drown in cheese and sauce. Totally. Normal.


  • Joyce @ Flowing to Fifty April 11, 2011, 2:37 pm

    I have this problem too! If I just eat more pasta, it doesn’t help the problem. I find adding beans (fiber!!) really helps as do eggs and cheese. I’m open to any more suggestions.

    • EmilyKennedy April 11, 2011, 4:25 pm

      Beans! Definitely! Lentils, black beans, pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans. Eat some with each meal and you will definitely feel full!

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write April 11, 2011, 2:40 pm

    My husband is trying to transition to a veg diet (I already am) and we’ve been eating a lot of the faux meats. It helps him feel fuller (whether that’s mental or physical, I don’t know).

    The fat component is a big one for me. I have found that I need more fat to keep full! We’ve become fat-phobes, when in reality, the fat is what keeps you from eating tons of other crap! I still find it really difficult to not buy fat free or 2% cheeses. I know that in theory, it should be fine, but it freaks me out!

    All that is to say, it’s a process, and I completely agree with you that new vegs can find faux meats a lifesaver!

    • Joyce @ Flowing to Fifty April 11, 2011, 5:56 pm

      Agreed. We’ve all been brainwashed about fat – myself included. I spent a decade being hungry before figuring out I needed more fat.

  • Anne @thefitbridesmaid April 11, 2011, 2:40 pm

    I’ve gone vegetarian for Lent, as well as sometimes I just find that I haven’t eaten meat that day. Those are usually days when I have lots of peanut butter and some sort of beans. YAY PROTEIN!

  • Jamie@Healthywalk April 11, 2011, 2:42 pm

    My dad is a vegetarian, so I have grown up eating faux meat. I actually can’t tell much of a difference in taste, though I do notice a difference in the texture. To be perfectly honest, I prefer fake hamburgers and hotdogs over the real thing! I also know that he takes vitamins and supplements every morning to help him get the nutrients he may be missing.

  • Skyler Meine April 11, 2011, 2:44 pm

    Good post. I can imagine that eliminating meat from your diet can be difficult. Especially in regards to satiety. Thanks for the info.

  • Christina April 11, 2011, 2:45 pm

    I am vegetarian and I eat a lot of beans/legumes, eggs, and very occasionally I’ll eat fish. My husband and I go through about a carton of eggs from our local farmer every week, a tub of hummus, and anywhere from 3-6 cans of beans/legumes per week. We have been making a big effort to avoid falling into the pasta trap, by only eating one pasta dish a week that we bulk up with lots of veggies. We very rarely eat processed faux meat products, as I favor eating whole foods. I think it’s all about finding the right nutrient balance for your body. Good luck!

  • Kristy @ Kristyruns.com April 11, 2011, 2:45 pm

    As a vegetarian, I’m all about the fat! My favs are nut butter, avocado, and coconut butter! Yum! They definitely keep me feeling full.

  • Caitlin @ TPL April 11, 2011, 2:46 pm

    I do eat faux meat but I try not to more than once a day and I try to not have faux meat and tofu in the same day. I totally agree about fat! Not matter how much protein I have in a meal, if it lacks fat It won’t keep me full for more than 2 hours max

  • Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food April 11, 2011, 2:48 pm

    fun pics you two are a hot couple! 🙂

    great post re vegetarianism – I definitely don’t like faux meat products either -I’m flexitarian mainly because it allows me to have more appetite for veggies! 🙂

  • Poppy @ From Fried Chicken to Tofu April 11, 2011, 2:49 pm

    Great post Caitlin! I went veg almost a year ago and I think trying new things is what eventually helped me move away from the faux meat. I LOVE veggie burgers, so I also started making my own at home from scratch. I find that sweet potatos, Portabella mushrooms, and black beans are among some of the most filling foods for me. You could come up with a ton of recipes with just those three ingredients!

  • Miranda @ working mom works out April 11, 2011, 2:51 pm

    Lunch looks yum! I’ve struggled with this myself. I’m considering becoming a vegetarian but can’t have soy (much) or gluten. That eliminates almost all faux meat products.

  • Freya April 11, 2011, 2:51 pm

    I love those pictures! The husband is smouldering 😛
    I think legumes are a great way to keep full – any meal with chickpeas in and I’m satisfied 🙂

  • Michelle April 11, 2011, 3:00 pm

    I rely on fake meat much less now then I did when I first started cooking for myself. I’ll still buy a box of veggie burgers and throw one on a salad for lunch if i’m anticipating a busy week. it’s healthier then a grilled cheese or slice of pizza from the options by work!

    I love beans. They’re great to add bulk, fiber and protein. I have also fallen in LOVE with avocado. I find it’s a great replacement for cheese on things and the healthy fats keep me satisfied. (In moderation of course. I know it’s not the best thing to eat. :))I would tell Abigail to keep experimenting. She’ll find her groove and what works for her!

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg April 11, 2011, 3:00 pm

    Protein helps me stay satisfied — but that doesn’t necessarily mean meat — it could be beans, nuts, nut butter, protein powder in smoothies, etc. For me to stay full I need veggies + protein + fat. Fruit doesn’t seem to satisfy me at all.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat April 11, 2011, 3:01 pm

    I’m not vegetarian, but tofu and edamame are 2 of my favourite protein sources! I find that if I make bean salads with a bunch of different beans and veggies, and make a dressing that contains a bit of fat like you said (usually olive oil), I really stay full. One I made recently was an Italian 4-Bean Salad, and it was delicious! If your reader wants to check it out, the URL is http://wp.me/pSUCS-1Ud

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine April 11, 2011, 3:01 pm

    Complex carbs are a lifesaver for me!! They’re filling, healthy and give you a fair amount of protein, too. I love hummus with whole-wheat pitas, peanut butter on toast, or tortillas with salsa!

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) April 11, 2011, 3:02 pm

    I agree- if I don’t have fat, I’m starving soon after. I find myself eating vegetarian most of the day now, except when Hubbs is home for dinner.

    Oh wait… never mind… are eggs vegetarian? Guess i eat like an ovo-lacto vegetarian 🙂

  • Elizabeth@The Sweet Life April 11, 2011, 3:06 pm

    For me, nuts, nut butters, fruit leather, beans, rice/quinoa/pasta, tons of veggies and fruits, and granola keep me full. I also eat lots of smoothies and occasionally have a soy latte–maybe 2-3x/wk.

  • Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me April 11, 2011, 3:08 pm

    Although I do eat meat, I definitely agree with you on faux meet products. I don’t want to replace meat with processed foods. I would love to eat more vegetarian dishes but it seems that to replace the protein you’re looking at faux meat OR beans. My fiance despises beans (crazy!) so it’s so hard to keep us both happy and satisfied without having meat at the meal!

  • Baby Blue April 11, 2011, 3:12 pm

    Wow, thanks Caitlyn for answering my question! I’m still iffy on the fake meat 🙂 but it helps to know what kind of snacks are suitable. Protein, carbs, fruit….. okay, I’ll give it a shot! Thanks ever so!

  • Lauren April 11, 2011, 3:13 pm

    It’s definitely important to get protein & fat at every meal to stay full! Instead of eating lots of pasta and grain dishes, try adding beans or a protein like tofu. I tend to get hungry in the afternoon too, but I have classes all afternoon – so I bring snacks like a bag of homemade trail mix (just throw some nuts & dried fruit together) or grab a greek yogurt (high protein!). Abigail may also not be getting enough calories in because she’s replacing the meat with vegetables in dishes is going to be less calories. Try eating a bigger breakfast or lunch

  • ashleigh April 11, 2011, 3:14 pm

    Peanut butter always makes me super full!! Also I just eat pretty often in an effort to not be hungry all the time. I could never make it from lunch-dinner with a snack.. or 3…

    I know you mentioned you get B 12 injections, but what do you do for iron? I have been veg forever (14 years!), but just recently was told I was low in iron and the supplements KILL my stomach so I stopped taking them.

    • Caitlin April 11, 2011, 3:22 pm

      I got tested for iron once and I was fine, so I don’t worry about it. Sorry supplements hurt your tummy – try taking them during the meal, not before or after.

  • Becky April 11, 2011, 3:15 pm

    Great post. I was never a big fan of the faux meats and I transitioned pretty well without them, but it was a very looooong, slooooow transition to vegetarianism for my husband and me (about 3 years) so I think our situation is pretty unique.

    Re: the B12 supplements. Can you expand a bit on the B12 injection? Do you get that on recommendation from a doctor (or from Dr. Husband!?)? I take an multivitamin, but is that not sufficient as a vegetarian? I thought eggs and dairy had B12 in them, so I assumed I was okay– but maybe not? Any insight you have would be great!

    • Caitlin April 11, 2011, 3:19 pm

      Since I try to ‘limit’ dairy (not that I succeed a lot), I am worried about not getting enough B12 so I get the injection from a regular western doctor. Just covering my bases, I guess!

      • Becky April 11, 2011, 3:30 pm

        Gotcha! Thanks for the response!

        • Kate April 11, 2011, 8:45 pm

          this might sound dumb….but what is the purpose of limiting dairy? thanks! 🙂

  • Kacy April 11, 2011, 3:15 pm

    I like faux meat a lot actually, but I try not to eat it too often.

  • Nikki @ BareFootPrint April 11, 2011, 3:15 pm

    Thanks for this post. I have been back and forth on the vegetarian front. This really helps me see that you cant just go veg in one night. I have tried and failed! Thanks again 🙂

  • Morgan @ Endorphaholic April 11, 2011, 3:17 pm

    Good tips, I totally agree with needing a snack! When I was vegan, I didn’t realize how much my caloric intake dropped- and I couldn’t figure out how I was so hungry all of the time.

    Enjoy this Monday! Mondays are going to make up over 11 years of your life, you might as well get excited about them 🙂

  • The Chick April 11, 2011, 3:17 pm

    Love the title of this post since thats what I called it when the husband and I tried to go veggie for a month. I never really tried the faux meat products because in my mind – whats the point of fake meat if you are trying to eat veggies and in my belly – I have real problems with digesting most soy products.

    We found ourselves using dairy and beans as a protien replacement but still stuggled with hunger. Although there are a lot more veggie meals in the house since.

  • Nicole April 11, 2011, 3:18 pm

    Good post. It’s odd to hear that people think they’ll be hungry on a vegetarian diet. But I guess until you get familiar with all the vegetarian options out there, it’s difficult to fill in the gap where meat once was. I have to try hard not to make myself overly full!

  • Laura April 11, 2011, 3:19 pm

    I’m actually working on transitioning to vegetarianism right now – just have to cut out fish. In my transition, I have never felt hungry! I’ve eaten maybe one or two frozen Amy’s burgers (only because they’re so yummy), but generally faux meat products gross me out.

    She may want to use a website like Sparkpeople or Calorie King to track what she’s eating – not to lose weight but to monitor her protein and fat intake initially. That’s really helped me make sure I’m focusing on real, whole foods that fill me up. I eat a wide variety of beans and whole grains, and I try to just eat several small meals and snacks throughout the day.

    • Caitlin April 11, 2011, 3:22 pm

      GREAT suggestion, Laura. I love Spark People.

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table April 11, 2011, 3:22 pm

    It is all about the protein for me – beans, eggs, greek yogurt, and protein powder (in shakes, oats, muffins, etc). That’s made a HUGE difference in keeping me fueled through the afternoon.

  • chelsea April 11, 2011, 3:24 pm

    Great post! I eat mainly vegetarian, although I cook meat for my husband and maybe once a week eat meat. I find that veggies fill me up more than meat, although I also tend to gravitate towards starchy carbs to fill me up too. Love the pictures on the green wall!

  • Lisa April 11, 2011, 3:24 pm

    I was a vegetarian for 12 years and did EVERYTHING wrong. I’m happier and healthier as a meat eater now. Plus soy freaks me out.

  • mel April 11, 2011, 3:24 pm

    I’ve been a veg for about two years and fat is key!! Every meal and snack I include fat…I promise you won’t get fat!! B fast always includes peanut butter or and egg and advocado, lunch I love goddess dressing (made with tahini, or hummus, or advocado, a little cheese (although I don’t eat a ton of cheese), sesamae sticks, nuts, etc. Dinner and snacks are the same. Also greek yog, eggs, pb and beans are great sources of protein and of course lots of volume with veggies and fruit keep me full. I never go hungry!

  • Karen @ Run Shop Travel April 11, 2011, 3:25 pm

    Great post Caitlin! I am flexitarian but I have my fair share of days without meat. It might be hard since Abigail is in school and might not have access to cooking for herself, but I’ve had a lot of fun (and luck staying full longer) by trying out new grains like Quinoa! It’s one of my favorites and as I understand it is one of the only vegetarian sources of complete protein!

    If you are lacto/ovo vegetarian eggs are a good option for breakfast – they keep me full for hours and I could always easily find them at the dining hall in college!

  • Michelle April 11, 2011, 3:28 pm

    I actually think sometimes that people say that so they don’t have to stop eating meat. It’s an easy excuse to say “But I was just hungry ALL the time!!!” Truth is, most of us (veg or not) are often used to eating portion sizes that are way too big, so I think oftentimes when people complain about being too hungry as vegetarians, it’s because they have probably adjusted portion sizes down to a smaller level (which is probably better) rather than having a much larger portion size like they are used to. That can be beneficial on two levels – one, most of us probably need to cut our portion sizes down a bit here and there. And by cutting out the meats and instead having less stuff but more REAL food – like fruits and vegetables, it can only benefit in the long run!!!

  • Emma (Namaste Everyday) April 11, 2011, 3:29 pm

    I am a (very active) vegetarian, and I do think that it makes me feel pretty hungry all the time, but who cares! Also as I don’t overeat, I snack whenever I’m hungry on something healthy, whole-some, and plant-based. Apple and peanutbutter, carrots and nuts, or whole grain crackers and hummus. The possibilities are endless!

  • Ashley @ Feeding Ashley April 11, 2011, 3:34 pm

    I used to rely on faux meats a lot when I became vegetarian at 13. My mom didn’t really understand how or why I wanted to do this so she bought me box after box of fake meat. Over the years I ate less and less, and now I avoid it all together and follow a vegan diet.
    I’m in college, like Abigail, and I rarely feel hungry following a vegan diet. From her email it sounded like she was eating mostly carbs and not getting the healthy proteins and fats to stay full. I think while faux meats are great they are expensive and if she lives on campus and eats in a dining hall she won’t always have easy access to it.
    She might want to bump up her calorie intake, or at least eat more food, the great thing about being vegan is I can eat more because there are fewer calories. She can start not only tracking her calorie intake but her food group intake as well to make sure she has enough protein and fat. Supplements are great to take as well.

  • Megan April 11, 2011, 3:36 pm

    I’m not a vegetarian, but I eat meat very rarely. I’m away at school too, and when I started working out at a higher intensity I found I was starving all.the.time! I couldn’t get enough veg protein and our caf doesn’t allow nuts at all! As long as she’s not vegan, I’d suggest making oatmeal with milk (I always do this in the mornings in residence!) and chia or flax seeds, or have poached eggs on toast for breakfast. Include hummus or cheese on sandwiches, and add beans to a pasta dish or try adding a side salad with beans, cheese, nuts, eggs or some combination! (A fav – spinach, apple, hard boiled egg, pecans, tomato!) And then if you need to, eat snacks like fruit + cheese, fruit/veggies + nut butter, nuts and dried fruit, yogurt or soup with added beans. Great post!!

  • Megan April 11, 2011, 3:36 pm

    I’m not a vegetarian, but I eat meat very rarely. I’m away at school too, and when I started working out at a higher intensity I found I was starving all.the.time! I couldn’t get enough veg protein and our caf doesn’t allow nuts at all! As long as she’s not vegan, I’d suggest making oatmeal with milk (I always do this in the mornings in residence!) and chia or flax seeds, or have poached eggs on toast for breakfast. Include hummus or cheese on sandwiches, and add beans to a pasta dish or try adding a side salad with beans, cheese, nuts, eggs or some combination! (A fav – spinach, apple, hard boiled egg, pecans, tomato!) And then if you need to, eat snacks like fruit + cheese, fruit/veggies + nut butter, nuts and dried fruit, yogurt or soup with added beans. Great post!!

  • D April 11, 2011, 3:39 pm

    I think she should keep in mind that there’s a mental aspect to satiety, too. She says she’s eating “grains, fruits, veggies, and dairy”, which sounds perfectly balanced and ‘enough’. But, I think one of the most important things is not about balancing your nutrients or taking supplements, but making a mental shift towards seeing a salad and fruit, or rice and beans, as a “whole” meal. My dad switched to vegetarianism when I did, but he still has trouble feeling like his meal doesn’t have a ‘main’ component. It’s not about satiety or fat or protein or whatever, it’s about the habit of seeing meat as that main component of your food, or the “bulk” that you center the veggies around. It’s important to load up a salad with nuts, veggies, and so on, but at the end of the day, if someone doesn’t see a salad as a “real meal”, they aren’t going to feel satisfied or full no matter what they put on it. I used to feel the same way about breakfast – I love just eating a bowl of fruit salad, or a few pieces of fruit in the morning, but I felt like I was “supposed” to have some protein and fat to stay full and that I would inevitably be starving without it. But, if I eat enough calories of fruit, and it’s what I really want, then that is absolutely more satisfying than eating the same calories of oatmeal and protein powder. So, my advice is to look at the mental aspect of feeling satisfied, rather than the physical.

  • Gavi @ Gavi Gets Going! April 11, 2011, 3:40 pm

    Great, interesting post! I do like some faux meats, but many of them contain gluten and I don’t process gluten well. I do enjoy tofu, beans, and fat free dairy as protein sources. I’ve noticed that I tend to do well when my meals contain a good amount of protein. For breakfast, I get my protein from fat free Greek yogurt and my gluten free cereal. Protein at lunch comes from my gluten free veggie burger on a salad. At dinner, I typically choose beans, tofu, or egg whites for protein.

    I did notice that my calorie intake decreased dramatically when I stopped eating so much meat and processed food. I think calorie counting is definitely a good start to see if Abigail is even taking in enough food. I also think that combining protein with fruits and/or vegetables helps me feel fuller longer. I’m sure she’ll get lots of great ideas from this post! 🙂

  • Katie G. April 11, 2011, 3:43 pm

    Great post, Caitlin! I have been doing the vegetarian thing for about 8 weeks now and I love it! It was hard at first so I bought some faux meat to substitute in, but now I am happy living on whole grains and lots of veggies!
    To fill up, I love: Peanut butter, avocado, hummus, fruts and lots of beans!

  • Marci April 11, 2011, 3:44 pm

    I am not vegetarian, but do eat meat-free many days a week. You must know what to replace in your meals, like lentils, chickpeas, beans, dairy. Agree on fats keeping you full. And I agree on Greek yogurt and cottage cheese too.

  • Stace April 11, 2011, 3:45 pm

    I am not a vegetarian but I dont like a lot of meat anyway and never have. Sometime I go days without a touch of meat and when I do eat meat I can only handle 2-3 ounces most of the time. Now I have spent alot of years overweight (losing now) and I would instead eat too much carby stuff(the white processed kind)but now a-days I find whole grains keep me full, as well as greek yogurt with stuff mixed in, EGGS, veggies, beans and combining all these things together. SO pretty much the same stuff everyone else is saying. The only “fake” meat I eat every so often is Chik’n Patties by Boca. They taste legit; like old skool chicken patties to me and sometimes I need and want somthing quick like that. I no longer count calories or obsess about the scale but my body seems to be naturally working towards a more healthier me. Who woulda thunk it? JK of course.

  • Jen April 11, 2011, 3:47 pm

    I’ve been a vegetarian and a vegan in the past, and I never relied on faux meats. I found that if I adequately represented the major food groups in each meal (carb, fat, protein) that I stayed full for a decent amount of time. For beginner vegetarians or vegans, I wouldn’t recommend having a meal of only rice and vegetables, or only tofu and vegetables. Combining was really the key for me. I think a lot of beginner vegetarians try to simply eliminate meat without replacing it with something else. If they make a bean dish or tofu scramble to replace the meat, the meal will be a lot more filling.

  • Carolyn @Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well. April 11, 2011, 4:02 pm

    I am a vegan, and I do not rely on faux meats. I actually rarely ever eat them. I just eat LOTS (and I meat LOTS) of fruits and veggies.

  • Diana April 11, 2011, 4:04 pm

    Omg! I’ve had a lil photoshoot on that same wall, too! 🙂

    When I do vegetarian meals, I used to do a lot more faux meats. Not I’m loving stuff like tempeh and tofu…not to mention beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. 🙂 I do still like an occasional Morningstar “soysage”.

  • Debbie @ Live from La Quinta April 11, 2011, 4:05 pm

    I read this post as I ate my lunch: vegan pizza made with soyrizo and daiya cheese, so you may or may not believe me when I say I don’t eat too much faux meat 🙂 However, I eat a lot less after 4 years as a vegetarian and one year as a vegan. Now they are an occasional treat.

    But you are right that fake meat is a great transitional tool. When I first started cooking vegetarian, I basically used my old recipes and substituted the fake stuff.

    Now, I find I get great satisfaction from a variety of veggies, beans, nuts, and grains, with an occasional treat tossed in. When I do use faux meat, I frequently make my own, including seitan and (my fave) black bean patties. I figure that still counts as whole foods, since I’m doing the processing myself.

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) April 11, 2011, 4:07 pm

    I’m one of the hungriest people in the universe, but I rarely eat faux meat.

    I think fiber is the key in the beginning, though it takes a while to get used to. So… maybe the transition to vegetarianism needs to be a gradual one???? I recently started eating occasional fish again, and was surprised at how full I felt after eating a little of it.

    Also, I think eating a veg diet, at least for me, did NOT help with weight loss (probably due to more hunger). I avoid eating things like meat nowadays moreso because I think about where they come from. I’d probably weigh less if I ate meat, but I think I feel a lot healthier eating mostly vegan.

    Food that helps: oatmeal, peanut butter, fruit, tofu, nuts, cereal

  • betty@runbetty April 11, 2011, 4:14 pm

    Great post! I definately suspect that Abigail needs to up the protein and fat content in her vegetarian meals to stay fuller longer.

    Also, don’t neglect FIBER!

    I know this is a contentious point, but I am a HUGE fan of not calorie counting, but tracking Calories/Fat/Protein/Carbs/Fiber. At least for me, it helps me ensure I am getting a balanced diet, and helps me hone in on just how MUCH of each of these categories I need in order to feel my best.

  • Jen April 11, 2011, 4:14 pm

    I also think there’s a valid argument about the Blood-type diet. I truly feel like some people aren’t programmed to be vegetarians. What’s your opinion about this?

    My husband (also a chiropractor/nutritionist) and I have different blood-types. I have no problem filling up on non-meat stuff. In fact, I need bread to feel full. He’s the opposite, he needs meat to feel full. I honestly think we need a different diet.

    What’s your husband’s take on this? Did any of his classes talk about this subject? What do you think about the idea of different people/different diets?

    • Caitlin April 11, 2011, 5:15 pm

      Husband believes different people need different diets for sure… it’s key to Chinese medicine. I don’t think everyone can be a healthy vegetarian, but I do think everyone can stand to eat a WHOLE LOT less meat, i.e. not once every day.

      • Jen April 11, 2011, 7:30 pm

        I agree completely…I think we’ve been manipulated by the Food corporations for too long!

  • Shannon April 11, 2011, 4:16 pm

    My preschool-age daughters and I are vegetarian. You MUST use beans, legumes, nuts, etc.–and we also use eggs and dairy–to replace meat as protein! Protein definitely helps keep you full. Without it, the carbs will digest very quickly and you’ll be hungry fast. Black bean burritos, pinto bean chili, split pea soup, fried eggs on toast, plain yogurt with fruit and granola, taco salads made with black and kidney beans instead of chicken or ground beef, refried-bean tacos, frittatas (egg, cheese, and veggie dishes), tofu stir-fries, hummus….the potential list of meatless entrees that still contain protein goes on and on. Check out my recent blog post for a great bean recipe: Corn-Tortilla Casserole. YUM!


  • Paige @Running Around Normal April 11, 2011, 4:19 pm

    I just simply aim to include protein in every meal! Protein, healthy carbs + a little fat is in all my meals + snacks 🙂

  • Kris April 11, 2011, 4:26 pm

    Beans, beans, beans LOL. And some healthy fat. I guess I’m a flexatarian; I will eat meat, but usually have very little interest in it. Maybe because I’ve never eaten much meat, I don’t go for faux meat either. I prefer any kinds of beans, either added to dishes or processed w/ olive oil into some kind of hummus or dip. I don’t eat a lot of cheese either because of the fat, but I find Greek yogurt good for satiety. I also love soup, and the water content helps fill up, along with the fiber component from veggies and beans. Mushrooms (espec. portabello) with some olive oil are delish and filling too, and can’t forget eggs (although whole eggs usually only 1-2/week; usually use whites only). And right now, everything tastes better and is very filling on a bed of kale (any kind of veggie would work as a base for other food).

  • Lauren April 11, 2011, 4:29 pm

    I find if I have eggs/egg whites at LUNCH specifically, that can really help. And yes, healthy fat!! Key to satiety 🙂

  • Lauren April 11, 2011, 4:31 pm

    Ohh, also, I would add a hefty serving of alomnd butter or some other kind of fat to your oatmeal breakfast as well. If I have almond butter in the morning, I feel less hungry the whole day.

    • Caitlin April 12, 2011, 7:50 am

      Good advice.

  • Parita @ myinnershakti April 11, 2011, 4:40 pm

    I’ve been an on and off vegetarian all my life…most days are great but some days I feel hungry all the time. Some of the foods that keep me full and energized are definitely nut butters, eggs, beans, nuts, and tofu. I experiemented in the beginning with different things and tried my best to listen to my body and see what actually kept it full (since we are all different).

  • Gracie (complicated day) April 11, 2011, 4:43 pm

    Fats trigger satiety. Add a chunk of cheese or some peanuts.

  • Charlie April 11, 2011, 4:44 pm

    I actually never relied on faux meat products since I try not to eat too much processed foods. Maybe bought some once or twice. I eat beans, whole grains, dairy and nuts to get protein. And tofu sometimes :).

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In April 11, 2011, 4:50 pm

    I’ve been a vegetarian for a little over a year and definitely realized I have to have a balance of whole grains, proteins, and fats to be full. One of my biggest peeves is when restaurants try to create a vegetarian dish with no protein in it!
    I also realized I just NEED more food. I would always need a snack by 4pm, and many people that DO eat meat still need this!

    • Lisa April 11, 2011, 5:24 pm

      I second you about needing more food in general. It’s ridiculous how much I eat but when you’re eating cleanly it is a task to get my 2000-2500 cals in each day.

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope April 11, 2011, 4:56 pm

    What a fun photoshoot haha! That green wall makes the perfect backdrop.

    Great info on being a vegetarian. I’ve found that it isn’t too difficult to be a vegetarian as long as you eat a well-balanced diet. There are SO many non-meat options out there these days!

  • Amanda- The Nutritionist Reviews April 11, 2011, 4:56 pm

    I love the photo shoot! Too cute.

  • Johanna B April 11, 2011, 5:06 pm

    I don’t eat faux meat products. I get protein from dairy products, lentils, chickpeas and things like that. I do sometimes get hungry between meals but I keep healthy snacks with me wherever I am so that I don’t have to buy food that I’m unsure of.

  • Lisa April 11, 2011, 5:23 pm

    I agree with what others have said about fat: it is THE KEY. I MUST include fat with every meal and snack or my blood sugar drops like crazy and I never really get full. Nut butter is my favorite source and it also happens to include a few grams of protein. Nuts, cheese, avocado, olive oil, coconut butter, etc!

  • Natalia - a side of simple April 11, 2011, 5:35 pm

    I vote for the second photo of your husband to be his new advertisement poster for his practice. You know you want to 🙂

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) April 11, 2011, 5:36 pm

    Great tips Caitlin!!!!

  • Jaclyn April 11, 2011, 5:46 pm

    It definitely sounds like she has not replaced meat with vegetarian protein sources. I agree that protein is over hyped, but we still need it. I think that starting with faux meats and then transitioning into more “whole food” protein sources like beans, tofu and tempeh (my faves) will help her feel more full. I try to make sure I have a protein source in every meal if possible – I don’t always get one, but in most meals I do. I find that I am much less hungry when I get a good dose of protein in a meal. Funny, I am actually getting MORE protein as a vegetarian than I did when I ate meat, because now I make a conscious effort to make sure I get enough, whereas then I just figured I’d pick it up somewhere… and often never did.

  • Mary April 11, 2011, 6:03 pm

    I agree with this whole post Caitlin!

    I think lots of beginner vegetarians get caught up in the whole protein thing, I know I did when I first started. Now I rarely eat “fake” meat, I’ve learned what works to keep me feeling full. I really believe its all about taking the transition slowly and learning what works for you. For instance, fat doesn’t make too much of a difference for me but I NEED my whole grains!

  • Jamie@everydaydolce April 11, 2011, 6:18 pm

    I LOVE those pics of you and your hubby…you guys look stellar! 🙂
    I’m a vegetarian as of Jan. 1, 2011 (woot woot!) and couldn’t be more happy with my dietary choices. I don’t miss meat. I remember how good a cheeseburger once tasted to me but I’m at a point where I’m content without it, knowing that I am standing up for a cause that I am very passionate about (ethical treatment of animals).

    I rely on peanut butter and almond butter to keep me full. At breakfast I throw a scoop of PB in my granola and always have a jar in the glovebox of my car, lol!

    I, too, agree with your thoughts about protein. Great post!

  • Julie @ Lettuce Choose Healthy April 11, 2011, 6:28 pm

    I personally do not like fake meats.

    I do not meat often. Maybe like once a month. I do find that when a meal is well balanced, meaning hitting all the food groups, I find myself feeling fuller.

    I liked your yogurt example – thats what I was talking about

  • Allie April 11, 2011, 6:29 pm

    Great veg. post! I like it 🙂 I don’t eat faux meat but I do have tofu occasionally 🙂

  • Mrs. K. April 11, 2011, 6:30 pm

    Well, I’m quite happy to have found your site! I am entering my 7th week (just under 2 months) as a vegan, from the S.A.D. And, honestly, I hear ya on not using the processed vegetarian helps too much. Believe me, they are a help, but… not too natural a source. Anyway…I am new to veganism and blogging. You’re definitely bookmarked ;).

  • Molly April 11, 2011, 6:34 pm

    Faux meat scares me! I’ve only tried TVP and that was in my food lab class in undergrad. Great post on this topic!

  • Baking 'n' Books April 11, 2011, 6:36 pm

    Oh yeah – I like Le Sol veggie burgers!

    With regards to the vitamins – do you take that in addition to a multi-vitamin? I don’t take anything now and wonder if I should just take a multi or what….energy, mood, fatigue, stress are big issues. Thanks for any advice.

    • Caitlin April 12, 2011, 7:43 am

      You should definitely be taking at leas at multi-vitamin, probably other stuff, too. There’s real no way for me to know what to recommend to you, but I would say making an appt with a Chinese medical doc who specializes in supplementation is the way to go. 🙂

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) April 11, 2011, 6:37 pm

    I don’t really eat fake meat that much- I don’t crave meat anymore, so it’s not too hard to skip it. Fats are ESSENTIAL for keeping me full! I had the same breakfast I had yesterday and had apple butter instead of almond butter on it this morning and my tummy was grumbling two hours later. Fat is the key to satiety in my opinion 🙂

  • Melissa @ Be Not Simply Good April 11, 2011, 6:43 pm

    I love the title of this post!

    I am not a vegetarian, but I also don’t eat meat everyday (whatever that makes me). Non-meat proteins for me include eggs, beans, cheese, Greek yogurt, nuts, nut butters and quinoa. I occasionally eat a Morningstar Farms veggie burger, because I like them, but I don’t often use faux meat for the same reasons you mentioned, Caitlin.

  • Kim @ Kim Lives Healthy April 11, 2011, 6:46 pm

    BEANS BEANS BEANS!!! They are super cheap (good for college students), good for salads/stirfries/pasta/chili… I can pretty much use kidney beans or black beans in place of any faux meat product. Oh – and fats like avocados!

  • gabriella @ embracement April 11, 2011, 6:48 pm

    Such a good post. Although I’m not a vegetarian I eat that way more days of the week than not. At first I experienced more hunger, but than I realized how to change my eating schedule. I find when I don’t have “meat” protein I eat smaller meals more frequently than I would if I were having a steak or chicken based meal. I never grabbed for faux meat, mainly because if I want it I can have it, so I think that’d make the transition easier for me.

  • Christine April 11, 2011, 7:21 pm

    Really interesting. My husband and I are thinking of going veg for a month and then probably cutting way back, so this was really informative.

  • Kayla @ Fitter Than Choc April 11, 2011, 7:37 pm

    I am not vegetarian, but my diet tends to be ‘accidentally vegetarian’. I can go on for days without realizing that I have not had meat. I think having a good breakfast helps. I find that when I have steel-cut oats in the morning, it keeps me satiated for hours. I will usually have 2 small snacks during the day – usually nuts and dried fruits. Besides that, I eat lots of tofu and beans (lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans) too:) Hope that helps!

    • Emmalinda April 12, 2011, 9:58 pm

      I love the phrase “accidentally vegetarian.” I am the same way, and tend to call myself flexitarian. I eat so little meat most people assume I’m vegetarian anyway. Thanks for the new phrase I can use! 🙂

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit April 11, 2011, 7:40 pm

    I don’t eat a lot of meat but I’m not a vegetarian. I have become more wary of faux meat products lately, because of the issues surrounding processed soy, and will always go for beans/tofu/tempeh before I pick any fake meat out at the grocery store.

  • Emily April 11, 2011, 8:00 pm

    I actually don’t think faux meats are a great idea for new vegetarians. As you said, meat analogues DON’T generally taste like meat, and this can be a turn-off to those freshly “off” meat, especially those who may be feeling timid or reluctant in their new “diet”. Also, fake meats really don’t solve the problem of finding good, whole food, unprocessed veg options, of which there are plenty! When I am serving veg food to non-veg folks, I like to serve dishes that unabashedly highlight fresh, whole veggies, grains, etc. In my experience, trying to convince a meat-eater to like veg food by serving faux meat is most definitely not going to win him over.

    I would suggest that Abigail try hemp, sprouted grains, lentils, nutrient-dense sauces or dressings made with nuts and seeds…

    And totally agree: Max Stress B is amazing stuff! I like Ambaya Gold for minerals too.

  • hippierunner April 11, 2011, 8:05 pm

    You guys are hot stuff! 😉

  • Jamie April 11, 2011, 8:05 pm

    I JUST ate dinner and I am beyond stuffed, something I never thought I’d say as a recently turned vegan!! I’m much better at reading my hunger signals than I’ve ever been before and as a result, I’m eating less overall.

    For dinner we had brown rice, roasted green pepper slices, maple baked beans (credit: ohsheglows) and sliced avocado. The rest of my family added chicken enchiladas, but I was completely stuffed on the sides alone. I’m now CRAVING fruits, and I’ve never been that way before. Your body is an amazing instrument, and learning to listen to it is a work in progress. I started veganism for lent and have already lost 7 pounds, yet I’m more satisfied than ever, and heck I’ve made healthy desserts at least twice a week! I get most of my recipes from ohsheglows, nomeatathlete, and eatliverun. It’s all about using your resources and making delicious food!!

  • Catherine April 11, 2011, 8:20 pm

    I don’t eat faux meat – I don’t think it is “real” food. For me the secret to getting and staying full is to eat lots of veggies, beans and nuts, and as you said always have some fat. It is easy as a vegetarian to eat a lot of not very nutritious foods like pita chips, crackers, pretzels, and such. Lots of wheat based processed foods and you will stay hungry. They have no staying power. I also never worry about the portion size on healthy veggies like spinach, greens, salads that are full of veggies and beans (but no croutons, heavy cheesy dressings). I eat as much of those as I need to stay full. Also, caffeine and sugar make me need more protein to not be hungry. If I stay off of caffeine with limited if any sugar and no processed wheat I can stay plenty full on real food. Sounds hard but is actually pretty easy if you plan ahead!

  • Melanie April 11, 2011, 9:15 pm


    I’m a vegetarian, and I frequently eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. I tend to get a lot of bad stomach aches though. Upon doing some research, I think I might be getting too much fiber which leads to digestive issues. Does anyone else have this problem? Slash- does anyone have any tips?! Thanks!

    • Caitlin April 12, 2011, 7:41 am

      It does happen to a lot of people. You might want to ton it down with the rough fibery veggies 🙂 Or try spacing them out more!

  • Khushboo April 12, 2011, 1:47 am

    great post! Other than eggs and fish occasionally, i tend to eat a more vegetarian diet! As for hunger levels, it doesnt really make a difference to me as I always make a conscious to include protein and fats. As for faux-meat products, i only soya mince (faux meat products arent readily available in Mumbai). Legumes are a great go-to food for veggies: cheap, fiberous, and good source of protein. And people underestimate the power of grains like oats and brown rice. Complete amino acid aside, I still think they are a great source of protein. Bulking out my meals with a boatload of veggies also helps: there’s magic in all that fiber ha!

  • Amber K April 12, 2011, 10:37 am

    I’ve been a vegetarian since I was a kid and didn’t have any faux meats until I was an adult. I thought they were the perfect convenience food. Too bad they are full of junk! There’s even fewer gluten-free options since so many rely on seitan. Making my own works, as well as bulking up my beans and nut servings. I also have a Greek yogurt daily.

  • JavaChick April 12, 2011, 11:16 am

    I tend to do vegetarian until dinner – pretty much due to my Husband who can’t wrap his head around the idea of going meatless. If I am on my own for dinner, that is likely to be vegetarian as well. I like to include dairy (yogurt or cheese) and/or beans and legumes. Eggs are also good if I am at home to cook them (personally not a fan of hard boiled, but they work for lots of people). I do eat some soy as well – I love tofu – but not every day.

  • Michelle Collins April 12, 2011, 3:04 pm

    Since I’ve gone full-blown veg, I have to say that my body (and stomach) have never felt so satiated. I have pretty healthy meals and am slightly obsessive about getting enough protein, so it tends to be easy for me to eat balanced meals and snacks. I find the faux meat products are pretty decent, but agree only to eat them in moderation! Great post!

  • Emmalinda April 12, 2011, 10:01 pm

    I suggest adding some healthy snacks! I am a flexitarian, meaning that I eat meat when I know it’s from a good source, and limit my meat intake to once a week at the very highest. I generally pack two snacks a day. I find that I get full quickly at lunch, so eating a morning and afternoon snack help keep my tummy happy. Snacks are generally yogurt, fruit, homemade granola bars, or some kind of homemade muffin/quick bread.

    Caitlin–can you tell me more about the B vitamins you take? I talked to my gyno about increasing my B vitamins, but she wasn’t able to give me a sense of how much of each B vitamin is safe and beneficial to take. Thanks!

    • Caitlin April 13, 2011, 9:03 am

      Hi there! I don’t know much else besides whatever is on that link for the Max Stress B 🙂 That’s what I take every day (twice a day) and it’s awesome. Highly rec!

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) April 12, 2011, 10:31 pm

    I am not vegetarian, but I do eat a lot of veggie meals. I think whole grains, lentils/beans, and some fat are the most important foods for staying full. And fiber!!

  • Megan April 13, 2011, 9:46 am

    I became pescatarian in July 2010 and haven’t looked back! My boyfriend & I are 95% vegetarian, sometimes when we’re out at a restaurant we’ll get seafood (so I can’t technically say we’re vegetarians – I feel like we’ll get kicked out of this exclusive club (; ), that’s why my blog is Not Quite Veg Meg – not quiiiite a vegetarian! We quit cold ‘tofurkey’ (i crack myself up) – didn’t ween ourself off of me. The hardest thing to give up was Chick-Fila, because it’s easily accessible but damn tasty. But Quorn makes a great chick’n patty, but I still miss Chick’s flavor. In the beginning it was pretty hard because we really didn’t do THAT much research, but after we made the decision, we bought some books and bookmarked our fave blogs. Now I love it. Some of my family thinks I’m crazy (my dad: “so.. what do you eat? like salad?? im just makin sure ya not starvin’ yaselves” or my mom: “eat a little chicken for protein”) I agree with you about the protein craziness – we get enough. And I don’t think I’ll ever get yelled at by a doctor saying I’m protein deficient! I get hungry throughout the day, but being hungry is OK. I eat around 730/8, snack in the 10am hour, lunch around 12-2 some days, snack again btwn 3/4pm hour and dinner between 7-9. I drink lots of water and green tea helps too (I use SweetLeaf stevia to sweeten mine up).
    Love the blog Caitlin! I’m going to try that open face tomato cheese breakfast sandwich soon – looks de-freakin-lish!!

    • Caitlin April 13, 2011, 2:08 pm

      Thank you so much Megan 🙂

  • Charise April 13, 2011, 11:17 am

    I eat vegetarian meals a few times a week, so I do get animal-based protein some days and then stay away from processed faux meat products. Regadless, I DO always need some sort of protein because of my hypoglycemia, like adding beans to that pasta + veg dish. I’m with Caitlin on the fat thing – I find adding a little more fat to any calorie-light meal helps keep me full longer (olive oil, avocado, and cheese are favorites). A big afternoon snack balanced between carbs + protein + fat is key for me, too (Greek yogurt/cereal/fruit, hummus/veg, PB on wheat toast are staples).

  • Megan @ Sweet On April 13, 2011, 12:51 pm

    To echo many other posters: beans of all sorts! (Chickpeas!!!!!)

    But I would also agree that when I became vegan, I just started eating more! My meals are a bit larger now and I also eat more often because I get hungry more quickly, but it hasn’t translated to weight gain (rather, weight loss!). Veggies are “cleaner” and easier to digest, also lower cal. Your body processes them differently. Eating more may be a simple answer to the “not full” problem 🙂

  • Ginger in LA April 14, 2011, 2:08 pm

    I have just discovered your blog and love it. I transitioned to a vegan diet last year. I am in my mid 40’s and have hereditary medical conditions I am hoping to allay by eliminating meat/dairy/eggs from my diet. I eat very little “meat replacement” products – I prefer whole foods to processed foods. I do occasionally use Field Roast sausages and think their products are quite yummy (and I have fed them to unsuspecting omnivores who raved over it). I prefer, though, to eat grains, veggies, and beans.

  • How To Be Vegetarian November 12, 2011, 9:52 pm

    thanks for sharing 😀
    i like it!

  • Jen @ keepitsimplefoods March 3, 2012, 11:08 am

    I hardly ever eat faux meat, rather I rely on beans, grains, and a good bit of dairy to keep me satisfied. I like to make vegetarian versions of my favorite comfort foods so that I don’t feel I’m missing out. Yum!

  • Christine November 15, 2012, 7:35 am

    Very valuable post!!

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